The pick of Emanuel is our first glimpse into the future Obama White House, and it has already thrown apprehensive Democrats and jaded Republicans alike into a tizzy.
Perhaps for good reason. With the nickname “Rahmbo” and a disposition likened to that of a mobster, Emanuel, though widely respected for his moxy and get-it-done record, isn’t exactly Mr. Nice Guy. A dynamic mix of talent and brawn — he was offered a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet company and volunteered for the Israeli Army during the Gulf War — Emanuel’s the real-deal pitbull Democrat (lipstick not included).
What follows is a list of the five most infamous Rahmbo tales. It’s the stuff legends are made of:
1. Mailing a Dead Fish
Emanuel is known for his panache for treating donors right. He sends them cheesecakes from Eli’s, the famous Chicago bakery. But the one pollster who notoriously ticked off Rahmbo received a 2 1/2 foot decomposing fish in the mail — ripe, stinky, and to the point.
2. Fundraising the Bugsy Siegel Way
His foray into fundraising started in Chicago while campaigning for Mayor Richard Daley’s reelection, when Emanuel raised a record number of donations. His sales pitch was simple enough: He’d tell contributors he found their offers so low it was embarrassing and then hang up on them. Mortified, the donors were shamed into calling back and giving more.